Managing Expectations & Building Resilience
Managing Expectations, an Awesome strategy and our biggest challenge
Structure gives comfort
Help reduce your anxiety by managing your expectations. One of the things that really helps me and my girls, is being organised, that way we know what we’re doing and when. It definitely seems to make things less stressful – which is exactly what we want.
Ask questions of your parents or carer, so that you have a clear idea on how things will go, and let them know if you need more detail to feel comfortable.
For my daughter it used to be absolutely critical that she had several days’ notice before a mufti-day (when she could wear casual clothes to school instead of the school uniform). So we would talk about the day, and also most importantly, choose the clothes she would wear ahead of time. This avoids having a stressful morning trying to decide what to wear on the day. These days she knows she feels happier in the lead up to, and on the day, if she’s organised with what she plans to wear, so she does this herself a few days before the event. Fabulous! This definitely means there is less worry on the day.
Green and Red Thinking
We were introduced to green and red thinking through the ‘Courageous Kids Program’ at Kids First. It works really well, but sometimes you need to wait for a time when you’re feeling calm and are happy to chat to someone about the situation.
How to use Green and Red Thinking
Tell someone (or write down) each of your thoughts and worries.
Then decide if you think this is helpful green thinking? Or unhelpful red thinking?
Ask yourself questions:
What do you think is the worst that could happen? (negative red thinking) Eg. It might not be mufti-day at school and everyone else is wearing their school uniform
What could we do then? Eg. We could go home and I could get changed
What do you think is the best that could happen? (positive green thinking)
The more Positive Thoughts you have about the day ahead, the better. Distraction and a positive focus can create an awesome mind shift.
Detective Thinking – Help your child manage your own “what if’s”
Sometimes when we are starting something new, there can be sooo many "what if's"!!! ....
Try asking yourself
‘What would happen if…?’, then
‘What would be an unhelpful thought?’ and
‘What would be a helpful thought?’
This is called Detective Thinking, we learnt this at the Cool Kids Program (see link below).
And one of my favourites, because we can’t always be sure it is going to go to plan.
Let’s just ‘Give it a Go’ (thanks Forestville!).
Using Growth Mindset – When you hear yourself saying“I can’t…”
When the “I can’t do it’s” start popping up… Try some Growth Mindset strategies.
The simplest way to do this is by adding ‘YET' to the end of your sentences. Try it, it’s actually pretty fun!
‘I can’t do it… YET’. And know, that the best thing to do if you do want to get better at something is… Practice!
For example, we both know that famous sports stars weren’t born at their current level of awesomeness. We know that Olympic Champions were in the beginning ‘just starting to learn to swim’ like everyone else. So you know that they have, and continue to practice A LOT!!!
You can find some fantastic Free Growth Mindset Printables on the Big Life Journal website (see link below).
Receive fantastic Free Growth Mindset Printables from Big Life Journal.
YouTube Video: Tales of Resilience, Living with Anxiety (4 mins) by Kate Elton. It is a short and inspiring video from a young person living with Anxiety. Kate shares how far she’s come and what has and continues to work for her.
Find a list of Top Growth Mindset Movies for Kids on the Big Life Journal website.
The Cool Kids program is a structured, skills-based program that teaches Kids (including teenagers) how to better manage a child’s anxiety. This is where we learnt about Detective Thinking, another great strategy for managing anxious thinking.